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Are we less suspicious as we age?

Years ago, I helped my mother clean up some old file drawers in a cabinet in her long-term care facility. There I found reams of letters - evidence of financial scams and fraudulent sweepstakes to which she had been sending small checks each month. Now you have to realize my mother wasn’t a financial pushover. She was a Depression-era baby who squeezed every cent out of her pocketbook, so I was greatly surprised she had succumbed to such flim-flam schemes.

New research in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which you may have read about last week, sheds some light on what was likely happening with my mom. That study is the first to show, as described on The New Old Age Blog, “that older adults’ vulnerability to fraud maybe rooted in age-related neurological changes.”

It now makes sense. Even when I argued with my mother and told her she was sending her hard-earned money to pump up some chiseler preying on the elderly, she blew me off.

More from the blog:

“The warning signs that convey a sense of potential danger to younger adults just don’t seem to be there for older adults,” said Shelley Taylor, the leader researcher and a professor of psychology at UCLA.

Sometimes throughout my life, my mother would say to me, “I just don’t understand you.” Well, Mom, now I understand you better.

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